Wingnut Dreams

Obama Administration

Let’s try to overlook the obvious social-psychological issues and basic stupidity of these people and discuss What This Means for the election itself:

“I am a Trump lady. I love Trump. He’s a real man,” said Carol Simone, 69. “He’s going to make us be good again.”

Watching the second presidential debate at Chickie’s and Pete’s in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, Simone wore two “Trump-Pence” stickers, one on her black vest, another on her straw cowboy hat.

“We desperately need him,” she said. “We need him to build a wall to keep Isis out.” …

… The crowd got louder as the debate progressed. Whenever Clinton began talking there were boos and jeers and shouts, usually of “Benghazi” or “emails”, but sometimes just swear words.

Cruciata, the man who used to do sweaters, was among the most vocal.

At one point Trump said “everything” Clinton had done related to foreign policy had been “a disaster”.

“Everything! Everything!” Cruciata shouted. “Even marrying Bill!”

Trump carried on criticizing Clinton.

“You’re gonna cry tonight!” Cruciata shouted.

Clinton, responding to Trump on foreign policy, said she would not send American troops to Syria.

“You should go yourself!” Cruciata shouted. “And get killed!”

Smith gave him a high-five.

Finally, Trump and Clinton were let go by the debate moderators. Cruciata, through an impressive range of insults, looked spent. Simone, in her words “a little bit drunk”, made for the exit. Smith, after many fist pumps into the air, sounded hoarse.

“He opened a can of whoop-ass on her,” he said. He added that he didn’t believe in polls, but that Trump may have won some new voters by “sticking to the issues”.

I asked Smith what his favourite moment was.

“There were so many,” he said. He thought for a second.

“Oh! When he said she should go to jail.”

These are highlights from a story in the Guardian about a debate-viewing party in a bar in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. We’re basically looking at people who have been marinated in Faux News propaganda for many years, and for them I suspect this debate was a fantasy come true. Here was God Emperor Trump bullying the Demon Queen Hillary and uploading “the whole oppo file on Bill.” It must have been like seeing Captain America finally crushing Red Skull.

However, I think for most people Trump grossly overplayed his hand. His insistence on remaining behind her in the camera frame so he could loom over her and scowl was just creepy, and I can’t imagine it endeared him to anybody who wasn’t already in his camp.

Still, I was a bit surprised that post-debate polls overwhelmingly favored Clinton. I would have expected it to have been even. Clinton didn’t own him this time, but was on the defensive. He told lies so fast there was no time to challenge one before he was spewing out the next one.

However, I don’t think Clinton made any mistakes. I don’t expect this debate to cost her anything, which in effect means she won it. She’s ahead; he needed to broaden his support to stay competitive, and I can’t imagine he did.

His threat to put Hillary Clinton in jail if he is elected is the most talked-about single moment in the debate today. Right-wing media loved it. In their fevered imaginations they’ve even added a line he didn’t say, that she would fear him as president. Wingnuts loved it. Most people were appalled, because they recognized that this is was dictators do.

Bottom line: The Right’s ultimate dream is to make the U.S. a right-wing dictatorship in which the civil liberties guaranteed us by the Constitution they claim to worship could be wiped out on the whims of their God Emperor. They want a Strong Man to come and save them from everything they hate and fear, which is pretty much most of the world. This is what the Republican Party has devolved into.

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Well, That Was Ghastly

Bad Hair, Hillary Clinton

I’ll write something more extensive tomorrow. I suspect Trump’s core supporters think this was a triumph. He did manage to put Clinton on the defensive. Hell, he threatened to put her in jail.

But did he win any supporters who weren’t already with him? Hard to imagine. I thought he was a bullying creep who couldn’t answer questions about his own policy positions.

Well, like I said, more tomorrow.

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X-Rated Debate?

Bad Hair

Almost time for the debate. If you have small children, perhaps you should put them to bed first. Or lock them in the spare room with games and a bag of Oreos. Just don’t let them near the teevee.

If Trump were a sensible person, he’d try to change the subject from anything sexual and act in a statesmanlike manner.  But as a Facebook friend said, basically Trump is what you’d get if a penis became sentient. That being so, I believe he will bring up the Bill Clinton scandals from the 1990s (see Vox for a refresher). And I’m sure Hillary Clinton anticipates that and will be ready for it.

I don’t think I’ll live-blog this one; I’m very tired. But feel free to comment here while the debate is going on. Or before or after. Otherwise, there’s usually good live blogging at Talking Points Memo and The Guardian. You can follow that if you can’t bear to watch, or if the kids run out of Oreos.

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Dead Candidate Walking

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The New York Times says that it’s probably not possible for the GOP to replace Trump as the nominee unless he resigns, dies or becomes incapacitated. And I don’t think he’s going to resign. He’s still got evangelicals, and he’s still got the mega-donors.

Elsewhere, though, it’s every Republican for her- or himself. I predict the RNC will leave Trump to his own devices and focus on congressional and state races. The Media Narrative at this point is that Trump may still be standing, but his campaign is toast. And then this ridiculous campaign season will finally lurch to its end.

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Family Values Farce

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A lot happened over the past several hours. Along with the release of the infamous Donald Lecherous Scumbag Trump video, apparently excerpts from Hillary Clinton infamous Goldman Sachs speeches have also been leaked, and as suspected she said things she is going to be pressured to disavow.

But I want to focus on Trump first. The current party line from the GOP is that Trump used bad language. Nobody should use bad language like that, especially about (sotto voce: white) women. We must denounce such use of language. But he’s still our candidate.

Will Trump be pressured to drop out? And would he? At this point, it doesn’t look like it. It’s way too late to replace Trump on the ballots. It probably would be possible for the GOP to announce that even though Trump is on the ballot his electors are free to vote for somebody else, but I’m not sure about that. I don’t think Trump would go quietly unless they paid him billions of dollars. Maybe not even then.

It’s fascinating, though, that a posse of “family values” evangelicals is standing by Trump. Here are Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer:

“Voters of faith are voting on issues like who will protect unborn life, defend religious freedom, create jobs, and oppose the Iran nuclear deal,” Faith and Freedom Coalition president Ralph Reed said in an email to BuzzFeed News. “Ten-year-old tapes of private conversation with a television talk show host rank very low on their hierarchy of concerns.”

Asked if he had any comment on the tape itself and if he was definitely standing by Trump, Reed said, “I think the statement is self explanatory.”

Tony Perkins, who leads the Family Research Council, also did not reject Trump in the wake of the revelations, but indicated that he doesn’t share Trump’s values.

“My personal support for Donald Trump has never been based upon shared values, it is based upon shared concerns about issues such as: justices on the Supreme Court that ignore the constitution, America’s continued vulnerability to Islamic terrorists and the systematic attack on religious liberty that we’ve seen in the last 7 1/2 years,” Perkins said in an email to BuzzFeed News.

“The comments are obviously disgusting and unfortunate,” Bauer said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “But Donald Trump did not run as a evangelical or as somebody who ran the kind of campaign that a Pat Robertson would run.”

“We’ll still support him, still work hard for him,” Bauer said. “His policies are 100% better than Hillary Clinton’s for the country.”

“I don’t see how any values voter that is sensible would take a tape from 11 years ago with totally inappropriate language and says somehow that leads me as a voter to stay home or vote for Hillary Clinton or throw your vote away on a third party candidate,” Bauer said.

It’s beyond obvious that Donald Trump is a walking moral cesspool. Even Jonah Goldberg, who is a known idiot, realizes this. You cannot say you take the Ten Commandments — any of ‘em — seriously and support Donald Trump. What’s wrong with these people?

I can think of two explanations. One, they think somehow they will maintain more influence in a Trump administration than in a Clinton administration. And maybe they would. Trump obviously doesn’t give a hoo-haw about religion, except when it can be made to reflect well on him somehow. He might very well support their anti-LGBT and anti-women agenda if they flatter him enough, because it’s obvious he doesn’t give a shit either way.

The other explanation is that these people have become so twisted that oppressing women and LGBT people is the only “morality” they care about any more, and all the stuff about lying, stealing, coveting, adultery , etc., are just details that can be sacrificed for their “greater good.”

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Has He Gone Too Far?

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There is talk Trump will be pressured to drop out of the race. I don’t think he will do it. Well, not unless the RNC offers to pay him tons and tons of money. What do you think?

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Donald Is Dragging Us Down

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I understand Hurricane Matthew is about to reach Jacksonville and is expected to make landfall in Charleston, so everybody hang in there.

Back to the Clown Show — Sunday is the next debate, and it appears Donald isn’t prepping for that one, either. I guess this is what one can expect from a man who has never had to work for anything. He doesn’t know how to work.

However, he does know how to bullshit. He’s telling people the “feds” are encouraging undocumented immigrants with criminal records to vote in November.

“I’m sure you’re not going to write it,” Trump told reporters covering the meeting, according to a transcript posted by NBC’s Ali Vitali. “To me that’s— they’re letting people pour into the country so they can go vote.”

Trump was responding to a statement from Art Del Cueto, the vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing border patrol agents that has endorsed Trump, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Cueto said that “they’re checking the records, they’re noticing that they have criminal records but they’re setting them aside because at this point, they’re saying immigration is so tied up with trying to get people that are on the waiting list — hurry up and get them, their immigration status corrected, make them citizens,” according to Vitali.

Trump asked why that was the case, and Del Cueto answered, “So they can go ahead and vote in this election.”

Nate Silver has the Clinton-Trump chances of winning at about 80 percent to 20 percent, respectively, this morning, with less than a month to go. Barring an unforeseen calamity of some sort, Clinton will win. Will Trump concede, or will he throw a tantrum and claim he was cheated? He could be setting the country up for some long-term domestic upheaval.

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Stay Safe!

disasters, natural and unnatural

I’m thinking of all of you in Florida and elsewhere on the southeast coast. Please stay safe, and let us know how you’re doing when you can.

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As I Predicted

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Here’s the new Clinton ad flaming Pence for denying stuff he and Trump really said.

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Winner and Winners of the Veep Debate

Obama Administration

The Veep debate had multiple winners, depending on what you mean by “winning.” For example:

I’d say Mike Pence won in the category of Likely 2020 GOP Front Runner. Word is that the Republican establishment is weeping and wailing today that Pence isn’t at the top of the ticket instead of Trump.

Mike Pence also arguably won in the category of Coming Across as More Reasonable Than He Really Is. Pence actually is a five-alarm whackjob who got into politics after hosting an Indiana radio show, apparently as a softer-spoken version of Rush Limbaugh. He is anti-women, anti-science, anti-LGBT rights, anti-Black Lives Matter, and pretty much anti-modern secular society. But the Crazy Vibes didn’t come through the teevee monitor.

And Mike Pence probably won the Sympathy category, since Kaine came across as something of an over-eager attack dog, especially in the first 30 minutes or so of the debate.

I believe Tim Kaine won Most Effective Sound Bites, which probably is what he was going for. Examples:

“So it’s smart not to pay for our military, our veterans and our teachers? And I guess all of us who pay for those things are stupid.”

“Donald Trump can’t start a Twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot.”

“If you don’t know the difference between dictatorship and leadership, then you’ve got to go back to a fifth grade civics class.”

Mike Pence, on the other hand, had the Most Talked-About Sound Bites. These were “I try to spend a little time on my knees every day” and everyone’s favorite, “Senator, you whipped out that Mexican thing again.”

Stephen Colbert: “That Mexican thing? That Mexican thing? It has a name governor,” Colbert said. “I call it Pedro. And it taught me Spanish.”

Not touchin’ that.

TimKaine won the Fact-Checker Award. According to Politifact, 79 percent of Kaine’s statements were true or mostly true, versus 31 percent of Pence’s statements.

Pence was at a disadvantage, of course, because time and time again Kaine challenged him to defend some dumb thing Trump had said, and Kaine had little recourse but to pretend The Donald hadn’t actually said those things. Here’s a run-down.

I’ll be really astonished to not see a television ad showing Pence denying things Trump had said, followed by the video of Trump saying them. Bottom line, Pence is at least self-aware enough to know that he couldn’t defend Trump directly without looking ridiculous. His debate performance amounted to throwing Trump under the bus while pretending he wasn’t really throwing Trump under the bus.

More winners:

The Unintended Irony Award goes to Donald J. Trump. While Mike Pence was rejecting the charge that Trump was running an “insult-driven campaign,” Trump was on Twitter, posting insults.

Elaine Quijano gets the award for First Asian-American Woman to Moderate a Vice Presidential Debate. I thought she did pretty well; definitely better than Matt Lauer, and no worse than Lester Holt.

Now, who won the debate? I’m hearing people say Pence won on style and Kaine won on substance, and I can’t argue with that.  I don’t think it will move the needle much, if at all. I agree with the FiveThirtyEight crew, that this debate will be quickly forgotten.

Well, except for the Mexican Thing. That’ll be with us for awhile.

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